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  1. PORTFOLIO RISK AND RETIREMENT SAVING James M. Poterba MIT April 2003

  2. PENSION SAVING IS CHANGING • U.K.: Increasing Importance of Defined Contribution Plans (About One Quarter of Private Plans) • 1986 Social Security Act: DC Plans and Opt-Out from SERPS • U.S.: Rising Importance of Self-Directed Retirement Arrangements

  3. DB vs. DC PENSION PLANS • Defined Benefit Plan: Specifies a Guaranteed Annuity Payout According to a Formula Based on Wages, Years of Service, etc. • Defined Contribution Plan: Payout at Retirement Depends on Value of Assets, Which Depend on Past Employer and Employee Contributions

  4. SHIFTING LANDSCAPE FOR U.S. PENSION SAVING • Rapid Rise in Retirement Assets/Wages (0.5 to 2.5, 1975-99) • 1975: DC Plans Represent About 25% of Participants and Plan Assets • 1980: 64% of Private Retirement Saving Contributions to DB Plans • 1999: 85% of Contributions are to “Individual Directed” Plans, > 50% of Assets in DC Plans

  5. GROWING ROLE OF DC PLANS IN U.K. • 1975: < 2% of Private Sector Occupational Pensions Were DC Plans • 2001: 22% of Private Plans Are DC

  6. WHY THE SHIFT FROM DB TO DC PLANS? • U.K.: DC Plans Can Reduce Employer Costs, Allow Greater “Pension Portability” for Workers • U.S.: Regulatory Changes such as ERISA (1974); Rising Stock Market and Shifting Worker Tastes

  7. COMPARING THE RISKS OF DB AND DC PLANS • DC Plans: Worker Bears Risk of Asset Price Changes, Must Make Investment & Withdrawal Decisions • DB Plans: Worker May Lose Large Fraction of Benefits if Changes Jobs Before Benefits Fully Vest

  8. AVERAGE TENURE ON CURRENT JOB, 1983-1998, US MEN (Friedberg & Owyang)

  9. POLICY ISSUES RAISED BY DC PLAN GROWTH • Accumulation Phase: Should Worker Choice be Restricted? Should There be Guarantees on Returns? What is the Role of Participant Education? • Payout Phase: Should Annuities be Required? Again, What Role for Education?

  10. CURRENT U.S. POLICY DEBATE ON ACCUMULATION • High-Profile Collapse of Firms with Company Stock in 401(k) Plans (Enron, Polaroid) • Weak Stock Market Performance Since 2000 Trimming 401(k) Balances • Links to Policy Debate on Social Security Privatization

  11. ASSET ALLOCATION IN 401(k) PLANS: STYLIZED FACTS • Overall Asset Allocation in DC Plans is Similar to Asset Allocation in DB Plans • About 20% of 401(k) Assets are in Employer Stock • Many Plans Have High Company Stock Holdings

  12. HOW MUCH EMPLOYER STOCK IN 401(k) PLANS? • Most Plans Hold None • Large Plans of Publicly Traded Firms Have Substantial Holdings • Need to Distinguish Employee Allocations vs. Employer Match • Some Saving Plans Were “ESOPs”

  13. AGGREGATE ASSET ALLOCATION IN 401(k) PENSION PLANS

  14. ASSET ALLOCATION PATTERNS BY AGE

  15. INVESTMENT IN COMPANY STOCK: CHOICE OR CONSTRAINT? • Some Investment is Worker Directed -- Workers Decide to Hold Company Stock • Some Investment is Driven by Firm Contributions, Particularly “Matching Contributions” • Do Workers Think About Correlation with Human Wealth?

  16. INVESTMENT DECISIONS OF 401(k) PARTICIPANTS WHO CAN INVEST IN OWN STOCK

  17. HOW RISKY IS COMPANY STOCK? (Mitchell & Utkus) • Ten-Year Average Annual Return on Company Stock (1992-2001): 10.9% • Ten-Year Average Annual Return on S&P 500: 12.9% • Average Standard Deviation of Company Stock Return: 34.4% • Average Standard Deviation of S&P500 Return: 17.3%

  18. PERCEIVED RISKINESS OF DIFFERENT MUTUAL FUND TYPES (John Hancock) • Money Market Funds: 2.4 • Balanced Funds: 2.8 • Company Stock: 3.2 • Stock Funds: 3.6 • International Funds: 4.0

  19. SHARE OF COMPANY STOCK IN FIVE LARGEST DC PLANS • General Electric: 68% (σ = 33%) • Verizon: 38% (σ = 33%) • IBM: 12% (σ = 39%) • General Motors: 21% (σ = 35%) • Lockheed-Martin: 36% (σ = 37%)

  20. FIVE LARGE DC PLANS WITH HIGHEST SHARE OF COMPANY STOCK • Proctor and Gamble: 90% (σ = 37%) • General Electric: 68% (σ = 33%) • Chevron-Texaco: 60% (σ = 28%) • Wells Fargo: 48% (σ = 34%) • SBC Communication: 44% (σ = 35%)

  21. INVESTMENT STRATEGY FOR SOME WORKERS

  22. FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE COST OF POOR DIVERSIFICATION • Volatility of Company Stock • Time Profile of Contributions • Other Components of Retirement Income Wealth (SERPS, DB Pension, Private Saving) – Mean and Covariances • Correlation with Human Capital Risk

  23. LIFECYCLE MODEL, UTILITY-BASED APPROACH TO EVALUATING COST OF RISK • Simulate Retirement Wealth for Different Investment Volatilities • Evaluate Expected Utility of Wealth-at-Retirement • Compare with Expected Utility Various Investment Strategies • Translate Into Certainty-Equivalents

  24. EXPECTED UTILITY ALGORITHM Contribution Profile: .10*(Labor Income) Utility of Wealth at Retirement: U(Wret + Wother) = (Wret + Wother)1- /(1-) E(Utility of Retirement Wealth) = EUCompany, EUBonds, EU50-50, EUSP500 Wealth Equivalent: [WESP500]1-/(1-) = EUSP500

  25. SPECIFIC ACCUMULATION ASSUMPTIONS Working Life: 35 Years Starting at Age 30 Contributions = 10% of Wage Earnings Five Investment Options: Index Bonds (1.5% Per Year, Real Return); Large Cap Stocks; Individual Company Stock; Two 50/50 Mixes Calibrate Non-401(k) Wealth at Retirement Based on Health and Retirement Survey

  26. MEDIAN EARNINGS HISTORIES, SINGLE MEN AGED 66-67

  27. FINAL INCOME, BY EDUCATION GROUP ($2000)

  28. MEDIAN WEALTH AT RETIREMENT, HRS SAMPLE OF SINGLE MEN AGED 66-67 ($2000)

  29. SOCIAL SECURITY, DB, & FINANCIAL WEALTH (RELATIVE TO FINAL EARNINGS)

  30. FINANCIAL WEALTH RELATIVE TO FINAL EARNINGS

  31. FINANCIAL WEALTH (EXCLUDING IRAs) RELATIVE TO FINAL EARNINGS

  32. ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ASSET RETURNS Return on Index Bonds: 1.5% Per Year (Real) Large-Cap Stock Returns: Empirical Distribution, 1926-2001; Mean Real Return = 9.4%, Annual Standard Deviation = 20.2% Individual Company Stock Return: Mean = 9.4%, Standard Deviation = 40.4%

  33. DISTRIBUTION OF EQUITY RETURNS, LARGE CAP U.S. STOCKS, 1926-2001

  34. SIMULATION ALGORITHM • Draw Sequence of 35 Annual Stock Returns (and Associated Company Stock Returns) from Empirical Distribution for Actual Returns • Calculate Wealth at Retirement for Each Education Group for Each Sequence • Evaluate Utility of Retirement Wealth • Repeat (300,000 times) • Compute Sample Means as Estimates of Expected Utility • Calculate Certainty Equivalents

  35. 100% Bonds 50-50 Bonds/S&P 100% S&P500 50-50 Bonds/Company Stock 100% Company Stock DISTRIBUTION OF 401(k) WEALTH/FINAL EARNINGS, MEN WITH HS DEGREE AND/OR SOME COLLEGE 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 60 0 80 120 100 20 40 140

  36. 100% Bonds 50-50 Bonds/S&P 100% S&P500 50-50 Bonds/Company Stock 100% Company Stock 401(k) WEALTH/FINAL EARNINGS, MEN WITH HS AND/OR SOME COLLEGE, ONE-STOCK VOLATILITY FACTOR = 1.5 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 60 0 80 120 100 20 40 140

  37. CERTAINTY EQUIVALENTS, HS GRADUATES, BASELINE CASE

  38. CERTAINTY EQUIVALENTS, HS GRADUATES, “HALF OTHER WEALTH”

  39. CERTAINTY EQUIVALENTS, HS GRADUATES,NO OTHER WEALTH

  40. CERTAINTY EQUIVALENTS, HS GRADUATES, COMPANY STOCK VOLATILITY = 1.5*MARKET

  41. CERTAINTY EQUIVALENTS, HS GRADUATES, EQUITY PREMIUM REDUCED BY 200 BASIS POINTS

  42. CONCLUSIONS FROM SIMULATIONS • Investments Restricted to Company Stock May be Worth Only Half as Much as Diversified Equity Holding • “Equity Premium Puzzle” Appears: Return to Diversified or Poorly Diversified Equity Portfolio is High • Costs of Non-Diversification Depend on Other Elements of Household Portfolio

  43. KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR POLICY DESIGN • Do Investors Accurately Perceive Risk-Return Tradeoffs? • Problem of Investor Heterogeneity? Constrain Those Who Make “Plausible” Allocations to Avoid “Risky” Allocations of a Minority?

  44. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESPONSES TO LACK OF DIVERSIFICATION • Limitations on Investment Options • Limitations on Asset Allocation – How Frequently “Tested?” • Participant Education by Government or Firm – Any Liability Issues?